Few companies today can boast that they have never laid anyone off. But when revenues plunge, rather than cutting staff some small and large businesses are choosing to instead trim workers’ hours. State labor departments are chipping in with unemployment checks that make up a portion of the employee’s lost earnings. Indicative of their success in propping up local economies, work sharing or short-time compensation programs have been adopted by 17 states.
Companies still feeling the recession’s pinch are developing other creative workarounds that avoid layoffs and help employees stay financially afloat, as well as retain their benefits. Innovations include allowing employees to take on jobs ordinarily done by temporary workers or contracting staff out to other local businesses. Another option, offered at a Navistar engine plant in Alabama and by California Steel Industries, allows workers to keep their paychecks while they volunteer their time at not-for-profits.
Given the flat or reduced wages and on-going high unemployment (more than an estimated ten million people are still out of work), a round of Happy Days Are Here Again is not likely to be sung anytime soon. But the creation of jobs, however humble, provides respect for employees and promises to pay a higher dividend in terms of loyalty than a short-term improvement to a company’s quarterly financials. More than an unconventional “kindness” — President Obama’s word — businesses benefit by preserving their greatest asset – people.
Below is a list of companies on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For that have work sharing programs.
Alston & Bird
Baptist Health South Florida
Edward D. Jones
Ernst & Young
J. M. Smucker
Johnson Financial Group